Studies on the epidemiology of fecal impaction are limited by the absence of a valid and reliable instrument to identify the condition in the elderly. Our aim is to validate a questionnaire for identifying fecal impaction in the elderly and to assess the impact of cognitive impairment and the aid of a proxy on its reliability.
We developed a 5 questions’ questionnaire. The questionnaire was presented to twenty doctors to test its face validity. Feasibility was pre-tested with ten non institutionalized subjects who completed the questionnaire twice, once alone or with the help of a proxy, and another along with the researcher.
For the validation of the questionnaire all residents in a single nursing-home were invited to participate, allowing the self-decision of using a proxy. Medical records of all subjects were abstracted without knowledge of subjects’ answers and agreement between fecal impaction according to self-reported and medical records analyzed. Physical impairment was measured with the Barthel’s test and cognitive impairment with the mini-mental test.
In the face validity only minor changes in wording were suggested. In the feasibility pre-test all subjects were able to understand and complete the questionnaire and all questions were considered appropriate and easily understandable.
One-hundred and ninety-nine of the 244 residents participated in the study (mean age 86,1 ± 6,6). One hundred and forty two subjects understood all questions; not understanding them was inversely associated with cognitive impairment score (aOR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.82-0.91). One hundred and sixty decided to use a proxy; the use of a proxy was inversely associated with educative level (0.13 (0.02-0.72), minimental’s score (0.85; 0.76-0.95) and Barthel’s score (0.96; 0.94-0.99). Agreement between medical records and self-completed questionnaire was 85.9% (kappa 0.72 (0,62- 0,82). Disagreement was unrelated to education and cognitive impairment.
Our simple questionnaire is reliable for identifying fecal impaction in the elderly by self-report. Limitation imposed by cognitive impairment is minimized with the aid of a proxy.
Rehabilitation interventions promote functional recovery among frail older adults and little is known about the clinical significance of physical outcome measure changes. The purpose of our study is to examine the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) among frail Asian older adults.
Data from the “Evaluation of the Frails’ Fall Efficacy by Comparing Treatments” study were analyzed. Distribution-based and anchor-based methods were used to estimate the MCID of the 6MWD. Participants who completed the trial rated their perceived change of overall health on the Global Rating of Change (GROC) scale. The receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) was used to analyze the sensitivity and specificity of the cut-off values of 6MWD (in meters) for GROC rating of “a little bit better” (+2), based on feedback from participants.
The mean (SD) change in 6MWD was 37.3(46.2) m among those who perceived a change (GROC ≥ 2), while those who did not was 9.3(18.2) m post-intervention (P = 0.011). From the anchor-based method, the MCID value for the 6MWD was 17.8 m (sensitivity 56.7% and specificity 83.3%) while distribution-based method estimated 12.9 m.
The MCID estimate for 6MWD was 17.8 m in the moderately frail Asian older adults with a fear of falling. The results will aid the clinicians in goal setting for this patient population.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number: ACTRN12610000576022
6-minute walk distance; Minimal clinically important difference; Older adult
Our aim was to assess the prevalence and demographic and socioeconomic correlates of chronic morbidity in the elderly population of transitional Kosovo.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Kosovo in 2011 including a representative sample of 1890 individuals aged ≥65 years (949 men, mean age 73 ± 6 years; 941 women, mean age 74 ± 7 years; response rate: 83%). A structured questionnaire inquired about the presence and the number of self-reported chronic diseases among elderly people, and their access to medical care. Demographic and socioeconomic data were also collected. Binary logistic regression was used to assess the association of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics with chronic conditions.
In this nationwide population-based sample in Kosovo, 42% of elderly people were unable to access medical care, of whom 88% due to unaffordable costs. About 83% of the elderly people reported at least one chronic condition (63% cardiovascular diseases), and 45% had at least two chronic diseases. In multivariable-adjusted models, factors associated with the presence of chronic conditions and/or multimorbidity were female sex, older age, self-perceived poverty and the inability to access medical care.
This study provides important evidence on the magnitude and distribution of chronic conditions among the elderly population of Kosovo. Our findings suggest that, in this sample of elderly people from Kosovo, the oldest-old (especially women) and the poor endure the vast majority of chronic conditions. These findings point to the urgent need to establish a social health insurance scheme including the marginalized segments of elderly people in this transitional country.
Aging; Chronic morbidity; Elderly; Kosovo; Multimorbidity
Two important consequences of the normal ageing process are sarcopenia (the age-related loss of muscle mass and function) and age-related cognitive decline. Existing data support positive relationships between muscle function, cognition and brain structure. However, studies investigating these relationships at older ages are lacking and rarely include a measure of muscle size. Here we test whether neck muscle size is positively associated with cognition and brain structure in older men.
We studied 51 healthy older men with mean age 73.8 (sd 1.5) years. Neck muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured from T1-weighted MR-brain scans using a validated technique. We measured multiple cognitive domains including verbal and visuospatial memory, executive functioning and estimated prior cognitive ability. Whole brain, ventricular, hippocampal and cerebellar volumes were measured with MRI. General linear models (ANCOVA) were performed.
Larger neck muscle CSA was associated with less whole brain atrophy (t = 2.86, p = 0.01, partial eta squared 17%). Neck muscle CSA was not associated with other neuroimaging variables or current cognitive ability. Smaller neck muscle CSA was unexpectedly associated with higher prior cognition (t = −2.12, p < 0.05, partial eta squared 10%).
In healthy older men, preservation of whole brain volume (i.e. less atrophy) is associated with larger muscle size. Longitudinal ageing studies are now required to investigate these relationships further.
Sarcopenia; Cognition; Aging; Muscle cross-sectional area; Brain volume
Aging and physical inactivity are associated with declines in some cognitive domains and cerebrovascular function, as well as an elevated risk of cerebrovascular disease and other morbidities. With the increase in the number of sedentary older Canadians, promoting healthy brain aging is becoming an increasingly important population health issue. Emerging research suggests that higher levels of physical fitness at any age are associated with better cognitive functioning and this may be mediated, at least in part, by improvements in cerebrovascular reserve. We are currently conducting a study to determine: if a structured 6-month aerobic exercise program is associated with improvements or maintenance of both cerebrovascular function and cognitive abilities in older individuals; and, the extent to which any changes seen persist 6 months after the completion of the structured exercise program.
Two hundred and fifty men and women aged 55–80 years are being enrolled into an 18-month combined quasi-experimental and prospective cohort study. Participants are eligible for enrollment into the study if they are inactive (i.e., not participating in regular physical activity), non-smokers, have a body mass index <35.0 kg/m2, are free of significant cognitive impairment (defined as a Montreal Cognitive Assessment score of 24 or more), and do not have clinically significant cardiovascular, cerebrovascular disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary airway disease. Repeated measurements are done during three sequential six-month phases: 1) pre-intervention; 2) aerobic exercise intervention; and 3) post-intervention. These outcomes include: cardiorespiratory fitness, resting cerebral blood flow, cerebrovascular reserve, and cognitive function.
This is the first study to our knowledge that will examine contemporaneously the effect of an exercise intervention on both cerebrovascular reserve and cognition in an older population. This study will further our understanding of whether cerebrovascular mechanisms might explain how exercise promotes healthy brain aging. In addition our study will address the potential of increasing physical activity to prevent age-associated cognitive decline.
Physical fitness; Cerebrovascular function; Cognition; Aging
Joint contractures are frequent in older individuals in geriatric care settings. Even though they are used as indicator of quality of care, there is neither a common standard to describe functioning and disability in patients nor an established standardized assessment to describe and quantify the impact of joint contractures on patients’ functioning. Thus, the aim of our study is (1) to develop a standard set for the assessment of the impact of joint contractures on functioning and social participation in older individuals and (2) to develop and validate a standardized assessment instrument for describing and quantifying the impact of joint contractures on the individuals’ functioning.
The standard set for joint contractures integrate the perspectives of all potentially relevant user groups, from the affected individuals to clinicians and researchers. The development of this set follows the methodology to develop an International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) Core Set and involves a formal decision-making and consensus process. Evidence from four preparatory studies will be integrated including qualitative interviews with patients, a systematic review of the literature, a survey with health professionals, and a cross sectional study with patients affected by joint contractures. The assessment instrument will be developed using item-response-theory models. The instrument will be validated.
The standard set for joint contractures will provide a list of aspects of functioning and health most relevant for older individuals in geriatric care settings with joint contractures. This list will describe body functions, body structures, activities and participation and related environmental factors. This standard set will define what aspects of functioning should be assessed in individuals with joint contractures and will be the basis of the new assessment instrument to evaluate the impact of joint contractures on functioning and social participation.
Contracture (MeSH); Aged (MeSH); Aged; 80 and over (MeSH); Disabled persons (MeSH); Outcome assessment (Health care) (MeSH); Geriatric rehabilitation; Home care (MeSH); Nursing homes (MeSH); Acute hospital care
The editors of BMC Geriatrics would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
The risk factors for mortality after hospitalization in older persons are not fully understood. The aim of the present study was to examine the three-year (1,096 days) mortality in previously hospitalized older patients from rural areas, and to explore how objectively and self-reported health indicators at baseline were associated with mortality.
The study included 484 (241 men) medical inpatients with age range 65–101 (mean 80.7, SD 7.4) years. Baseline information included the following health measures: the Charlson Index, the Mini-Mental-State Examination, Lawton and Brody’s scales for physical self-maintenance and the instrumental activities of daily living, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, self-reported health (one item), and perceived social functioning (one item) and assistance in living at discharge.
In all, 172 (35.5%) of those patients included had died within the three years of the follow-up period. Three-year mortality was associated with a high score at baseline on the Charlson Index (HR 1.73, 95%CI 1.09-2.74) and poor self-reported health (HR 1.52, 95%CI 1.03-2.25) in a Cox regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, other objectively measured health indicators, and perceived impaired social functioning.
In a study of older adults admitted to a general hospital for a wide variety of disorders, we found co-morbidity (as measured with the Charlson Index) and poor self-reported health associated with three-year mortality in analysis adjusting for age, gender, and other health-related indicators. The results suggest that self-reported health is a measure that should be included in future studies.
Elderly; Gender; Hospitalization; Self-rated health; Survival analysis
Audit with feedback is a moderately effective approach for improving professional practice in other health care settings. Although unregulated caregivers give the majority of direct care in long-term care settings, little is known about how they understand and perceive feedback reports because unregulated providers have not been directly targeted to receive audit with feedback in quality improvement interventions in long-term care. The purpose of this paper is to describe unregulated care providers’ perceptions of usefulness of a feedback report in four Canadian long-term care facilities.
We delivered monthly feedback reports to unregulated care providers for 13 months in 2009–2010. The feedback reports described a unit’s performance in relation to falls, depression, and pain as compared to eight other units in the study. Follow-up surveys captured participant perceptions of the feedback report. We conducted descriptive analyses of the variables related to participant perceptions and multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between perceived usefulness of the feedback report and a set of independent variables.
The vast majority (80%) of unregulated care providers (n = 171) who responded said they understood the reports. Those who discussed the report with others and were interested in other forms of data were more likely to find the feedback report useful for making changes in resident care.
This work suggests that unregulated care providers can understand and feel positively about using audit with feedback reports to make changes to resident care. Further research should explore ways to promote fuller engagement of unregulated care providers in decision-making to improve quality of care in long-term care settings.
Long-term care; Unregulated care provider; Quality of care; Audit and feedback
Nursing home residents with dementia gradually lose the ability to process information so that they are less likely to express pain in typical ways. These residents may express pain through disruptive behaviors because they cannot appropriately verbalize their pain experience. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of pain on disruptive behaviors in nursing home residents with dementia.
This is a secondary analysis of the Minimum Data Set (MDS 2.0) assessment data on long-term care from the state of Florida. The data used in this study were the first comprehensive assessment data from NH residents with dementia aged 65 and older (N = 56,577) in Medicare- or Medicaid-certified nursing homes between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. Variables examined were pain, wandering, aggression, agitation, cognitive impairment, activities of daily living impairments, and demographic characteristics. Ordinal logistic regression was used to evaluate the effect of pain on disruptive behaviors.
Residents with more severe pain are less likely to display wandering behaviors (OR = .77, 95% CI for OR = [0.73, 0.81]), but more likely to display aggressive and agitated behaviors (OR = 1.04, 95% CI for OR = [1.01, 1.08]; OR = 1.17, 95% CI for OR = [1.13, 1.20]).
The relationship between pain and disruptive behaviors depends on the type of behaviors. Pain is positively correlated with disruptive behaviors that do not involve locomotion (e.g., aggression and agitation), but negatively related to disruptive behaviors that are accompanied by locomotion (e.g., wandering). These findings indicate that effective pain management may help to reduce aggression and agitation, and to promote mobility in persons with dementia.
Disruptive behaviors; Pain; Dementia; Nursing home
Vitamin deficiency is a cause of health related problems in elderly people. The aims were to study associations between vitamin B6 (B6) and diseases (primarily functional gastrointestinal disorders) in elderly people in nursing homes, the prevalence of B6 deficiency and factors associated with B6 deficiency.
This cross-sectional study included residents in nursing homes. Demographics, nutritional status (Mini Nutritional Assessment, MNA® ), physical activity, activity of daily living (Katz Index), dietary habits, use of drugs, and psychiatric and somatic diseases were recorded. A blood sample was collected for haematological and biochemical screening, including B6 (p-PLP); p-PLP values < 20 nmol/l indicates B6 deficiency. The results are given as mean (SD).
Sixty-one residents (men/women: 22/39) with an age of 85.3 (6.8) years and BMI 25.7 (4.5) kg/m2 were included. Malnutrition and risk of malnutrition were present in 11.5% and 61% respectively. Dietary intake of B6 (mg/day) in men and women were 1.60 (0.30) and 1.18 (0.31) (recommended 1.6 and 1.2 respectively), and 14 (23%) used B6 supplements. Median p-PLP was 20.7 (range <4.0-175.8), 30 subjects (49%) had B6 deficiency. B6 deficiency was associated with old age, low s-alanine aminotransferase and s-albumin, elevated s-homocysteine and inactivity (p-values 0.01-0.03). There were no clinically significant associations between B6 deficiency and somatic or psychiatric disorders, and B6 deficiency was not observed in subjects given B6 supplements.
Half of the residents had vitamin B6 deficiency. Vitamin supplement was effective prophylaxis for deficiency and should be recommended to all elderly people in nursing homes.
Residents of care homes are at risk of colonisation and infection with antibiotic resistant bacteria, but there is little evidence that antibiotic resistance among such patients is associated with worse outcomes than among older people living in their own homes. Our aim was to compare the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and clinical outcomes in older patients admitted to hospital with acute infections from care homes versus their own homes.
We enrolled patients admitted to Ninewells Hospital in 2005 who were older than 64 years with onset of acute community acquired respiratory tract, urinary tract or skin and soft tissue infections, and with at least one sample sent for culture. The primary outcome was 30 day mortality, adjusted for age, sex, Charlson Index of co-morbidity, sepsis severity, presence of resistant isolates and resistance to initial therapy.
161 patients were identified, 60 from care homes and 101 from the community. Care home patients were older, had more co-morbidities, and higher rates of resistant bacteria, including MRSA and Gram negative organisms resistant to co-amoxiclav, cefuroxime and/or ciprofloxacin, overall (70% versus 36%, p = 0.026). 30 day mortality was high in both groups (30% in care home patients and 24% in comparators). In multivariate logistic regression we found that place of residence did not predict 30 day mortality (adjusted odds ratio (OR) for own home versus care home 1.01, 95% CI 0.40-2.52, p = 0.984). Only having severe sepsis predicted 30 day mortality (OR 10.09, 95% CI 3.37-30.19, p < 0.001), after adjustment for age, sex, co-morbidity, presence of resistant bacteria, resistance to initial therapy, and place of residence.
Older patients admitted with acute infection had high 30 day mortality. Patients from care homes were more likely to have resistant organisms but high levels of antimicrobial resistance were found in both groups. Thus, we recommend that antibiotic therapies active against resistant organisms, guided by local resistance patterns, should be considered for all older patients admitted with severe sepsis regardless of their place of residence.
Long-term care facilities; Nursing home; Care home; Sepsis; Severity of infection; Antibiotic policy
Crisis is a term frequently used in dementia care lacking a standardized definition. This article systematically reviews existing definitions of crisis in dementia care literature to create a standardized definition that can be utilized for research, policy and clinical practice.
We systematically searched for articles containing definitions of crisis in the context of dementia care. We created an operational framework of crisis based on retrieved definitions. Recommendations to address crisis situations were reviewed and classified according to care settings.
Abstracts and titles of 1,113 articles, screened from PubMed and EMBASE, were narrowed down to 27 articles. After review, crisis in dementia was defined as a process where a stressor causes an imbalance requiring an immediate decision to be made which leads to a desired outcome and therefore a resolution of the crisis. If the crisis is not resolved, the cycle continues. Recommendations for resolving crisis involving persons with dementia and their caregivers include awareness therapy after diagnosis and increased contact with general practitioners, case manager consultations, caregiver support and education. Furthermore, nursing home staff should be attuned to the environmental, physical and psychological needs of persons with dementia.
This is the first article to review the definition of crisis in the context of dementia care. A review of the literature indicated that the definition of a crisis is idiosyncratic. Therefore, it is difficult to prevent or plan for all crises. We used an operational framework to compile types of crisis stressors and recommendations from the crisis literature based on three different perspectives; the person with the dementia, the caregiver and the healthcare providers.
Crisis; Dementia care; Definition; Operational framework
The fastest growing age group globally is older adults, and preventing the need for long-term nursing care in this group is important for social and financial reasons. A population approach to diet and physical activity through the use of social services can play an important role in prevention. This study examined the effectiveness of a social health program for community-dwelling older adults aimed at introducing and promoting physical activity in the home at each individual’s pace, helping participants maintain good dietary habits by keeping self-check sheets, and determining whether long-standing unhealthy or less-than-ideal physical and dietary habits can be changed.
This cluster randomized trial conducted at 6 community centers in an urban community involved 92 community-dwelling older adults aged 65–90 years. The intervention group (3 community centers; n = 57) participated in the social health program “Sumida TAKE10!” which is an educational program incorporating the “TAKE10!® for Older Adults” program, once every 2 weeks for 3 months. The control group (3 community centers; n=35) was subsequently provided with the same program as a crossover intervention group. The main outcome measures were changes in food intake frequency, food frequency score (FFS), dietary variety score (DVS), and frequency of walking and exercise. The secondary outcome measures were changes in self-rated health, appetite, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (TMIG) Index of Competence score.
Compared to baseline, post-intervention food intake frequency for 6 of 10 food groups (meat, fish/shellfish, eggs, potatoes, fruits, and seaweed), FFS, and DVS were significantly increased in the intervention group, and interaction effects of FFS and DVS were seen between the two groups. No significant differences were observed between baseline and post-intervention in the control group. Frequency of walking and exercise remained unchanged in both groups, and no significant difference in improvement rate was seen between the groups. Self-rated health was significantly increased in the intervention group. Appetite and TMIG Index of Competence score were unchanged in both groups.
The social health program resulted in improved dietary habits, as measured by food intake frequency, FFS, and DVS, and may improve self-rated health among community-dwelling older adults.
Trial registration number
Social health program; Community-dwelling older adults; Dietary variety; Physical activity; Self-rated health
Due to the ageing of the population, the number of frail older people who suffer from multiple, complex health complaints increases and this ultimately threatens their ability to function independently. Many interventions for frail older people attempt to prevent or delay functional decline, but they show contradicting results. Recent studies emphasise the importance of embedding these interventions into existing primary care systems and tailoring care to older people’s needs and wishes. This article presents the design of an evaluation study, aiming to investigate the effects and feasibility of the early detection of health problems among community-dwelling older people and their subsequent referral to appropriate care and/or well-being facilities by general practices.
A longitudinal, quasi-experimental study is designed comparing 13 intervention practices with 11 control practices. General practices select eligible community-dwelling older people (≥ 75 years). Practice nurses from intervention practices (1) visit older people at home for a comprehensive assessment of their health and well-being; (2) discuss results with the GP; (3) formulate – if required – a care and treatment plan together with the patient; (4) refer patient to care and/or well-being facilities; and (5) monitor and coordinate care and follow-up. Control practices provide usual care and match the intervention practices on the presence of different primary care professionals within the practice. Primary outcome measures are health-related quality of life and disability. Additionally, attitude towards ageing, care satisfaction, health care utilisation, nursing home admission and mortality are measured. Some outcomes are assessed by means of a postal questionnaire (at baseline and after 6, 12, and 18 months follow-up), others through continuous registration over the 18-month period. A profound process evaluation will provide insight into barriers and facilitators for implementing the intervention protocol within general practices from both the patient and caregiver perspective.
The proposed approach requires redesigning care delivery within general practices for accomplishing appropriate care for older people. A quasi-experimental design is chosen to closely resemble a real-life situation, which is desirable for future implementation after this innovation proves to be successful. Results of the effect and process evaluation will become available in 2013.
The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR2737
Frailty; Older people; Comprehensive geriatric assessment; Home visit; General practice; Quasi-experimental design
Falls have enormous impact in older adults. Yet, there is insufficient evidence regarding the effectiveness of preventive interventions in this setting. The objectives were to measure the frequency of falls and associated factors among older people living institutions.
Data were obtained from a survey on a probabilistic sample of residents aged ≥65 years, drawn in 1998-99 from institutions of Madrid (Spain). Residents, their caregivers, and facility physicians were interviewed. Fall rates were computed based on the number of physician-reported falls in the preceding 30 days. Adjusted rate ratios were computed using negative binomial regression models, including age, sex, cognitive status, functional dependence, number of diseases, and polypharmacy.
The final sample comprised 733 residents. The fall rate was 2.4 falls per person-year (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.04-2.82). The strongest risk factor was number of diseases, with an adjusted rate ratio (RR) of 1.32 (95% CI, 1.17-1.50) for each additional diagnosis. Other variables associated with falls were: urinary incontinence (RR = 2.56 [95% CI, 1.32-4.94]); antidepressant use (RR = 2.32 [95% CI, 1.22-4.40]); arrhythmias (RR = 2.00 [95% CI, 1.05-3.81]); and polypharmacy (RR = 1.07 [95% CI, 0.95-1.21], for each additional medication). The attributable fraction for number of diseases (with reference to those with ≤ 1 condition) was 84% (95% CI, 45-95%).
Number of diseases was the main risk factor for falls in this population of institutionalized older adults. Other variables associated with falls, probably more amenable to preventive action, were urinary incontinence, antidepressants, arrhythmias, and polypharmacy.
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here:
Accidental falls; Epidemiology; Residential facilities; Nursing homes; Comorbidity
Malnutrition is common in older people in hospital and is associated with adverse clinical outcomes including increased mortality, morbidity and length of stay. This has raised concerns about the nutrition and diet of hospital in-patients. A number of factors may contribute to low dietary intakes in hospital, including acute illness and cognitive impairment among in-patients. The extent to which other factors influence intake such as a lack of help at mealtimes, for patients who require assistance with eating, is uncertain. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of using trained volunteer mealtime assistants to help patients on an acute medical ward for older people at mealtimes.
The study design is quasi-experimental with a before (year one) and after (year two) comparison of patients on the intervention ward and parallel comparison with patients on a control ward in the same department. The intervention in the second year was the provision of trained volunteer mealtime assistance to patients in the intervention ward. There were three components of data collection that were repeated in both years on both wards. The first (primary) outcome was patients’ dietary intake, collected as individual patient records and as ward-level balance data over 24 hour periods. The second was clinical outcome data assessed on admission and discharge from both wards, and 6 and 12 months after discharge. Finally qualitative data on the views and experience of patients, carers, staff and volunteers was collected through interviews and focus groups in both years to allow a mixed-method evaluation of the intervention.
The study will describe the effect of provision of trained volunteer mealtime assistants on the dietary intake of older medical in-patients. The association between dietary intake and clinical outcomes including malnutrition risk, body composition, grip strength, length of hospital stay and mortality will also be determined. An important component of the study is the use of qualitative approaches to determine the views of patients, relatives, staff and volunteers on nutrition in hospital and the impact of mealtime assistance.
Trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov NCTO1647204
Nutrition; Older; Volunteer; Mealtime assistance; Dietary intake; Hospital
Dizziness is a common complaint among older adults and has been linked to a wide range of health conditions, psychological and social characteristics in this population. However a profile of dizziness is still uncertain which hampers clinical decision-making. We therefore sought to explore the relationship between dizziness and a comprehensive range of demographic data, diseases, health and geriatric conditions, and geriatric syndromes in a representative sample of community-dwelling older people.
This is a cross-sectional, population-based study derived from FIBRA (Network for the Study of Frailty in Brazilian Elderly Adults), with 391 elderly adults, both men and women, aged 65 years and older. Elderly participants living at home in an urban area were enrolled through a process of random cluster sampling of census regions. The outcome variable was the self-report of dizziness in the last year. Several feelings of dizziness were investigated including vertigo, spinning, light or heavy headedness, floating, fuzziness, giddiness and instability. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to estimate the adjusted odds ratios and build the probability model for dizziness.
The complaint of dizziness was reported by 45% of elderly adults, from which 71.6% were women (p=0.004). The multivariate regression analysis revealed that dizziness is associated with depressive symptoms (OR = 2.08; 95% CI 1.29–3.35), perceived fatigue (OR = 1.93; 95% CI 1.21-3.10), recurring falls (OR = 2.01; 95% CI 1.11-3.62) and excessive drowsiness (OR = 1.91; 95% CI 1.11–3.29). The discrimination of the final model was AUC = 0.673 (95% CI 0.619-0.727) (p< 0.001).
The prevalence of dizziness in community-dwelling elderly adults is substantial. It is associated with other common geriatric conditions usually neglected in elderly adults, such as fatigue and drowsiness, supporting its possible multifactorial manifestation. Our findings demonstrate the need to expand the design in future studies, aiming to estimate risk and identify possible causal relations.
Aged; Depression; Dizziness; Elderly adults; Fatigue; Sleep disorders by excessive drowsiness; Cross sectional study
Among the many definitions of frailty, the frailty phenotype defined by Fried et al. is one of few constructs that has been repeatedly validated: first in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) and subsequently in other large cohorts in the North America. In Europe, the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) is a gold mine of individual, economic and health information that can provide insight into better understanding of frailty across diverse population settings. A recent adaptation of the original five CHS-frailty criteria was proposed to make use of SHARE data and measure frailty in the European population. To test the validity of the SHARE operationalized frailty phenotype, this study aims to evaluate its prospective association with adverse health outcomes.
Data are from 11,015 community-dwelling men and women aged 60+ participating in wave 1 and 2 of the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe, a population-based survey. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess the 2-year follow up effect of SHARE-operationalized frailty phenotype on the incidence of disability (disability-free at baseline) and on worsening disability and morbidity, adjusting for age, sex, income and baseline morbidity and disability.
At 2-year follow up, frail individuals were at increased risk for: developing mobility (OR 3.07, 95% CI, 1.02-9.36), IADL (OR 5.52, 95% CI, 3.76-8.10) and BADL (OR 5.13, 95% CI, 3.53-7.44) disability; worsening mobility (OR 2.94, 95% CI, 2.19- 3.93) IADL (OR 4.43, 95% CI, 3.19-6.15) and BADL disability (OR 4.53, 95% CI, 3.14-6.54); and worsening morbidity (OR 1.77, 95% CI, 1.35-2.32). These associations were significant even among the prefrail, but with a lower magnitude of effect.
The SHARE-operationalized frailty phenotype is significantly associated with all tested health outcomes independent of baseline morbidity and disability in community-dwelling men and women aged 60 and older living in Europe. The robustness of results validate the use of this phenotype in the SHARE survey for future research on frailty in Europe.
Frailty phenotype; Validation; Adverse outcomes; Population survey; SHARE; BADL disability; IADL disability; Morbidity
Continued aging of the population is expected to be accompanied by substantial increases in the number of people with dementia and in the number of health care staff required to care for them. Adequate knowledge about dementia among health care staff is important to the quality of care delivered to this vulnerable population. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge about dementia across a range of health care staff in a regional health service district.
Knowledge levels were investigated via the validated 30-item Alzheimer’s Disease Knowledge Scale (ADKS). All health service district staff with e-mail access were invited to participate in an online survey. Knowledge levels were compared across demographic categories, professional groups, and by whether the respondent had any professional or personal experience caring for someone with dementia. The effect of dementia-specific training or education on knowledge level was also evaluated.
A diverse staff group (N = 360), in terms of age, professional group (nursing, medicine, allied health, support staff) and work setting from a regional health service in Queensland, Australia responded. Overall knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease was of a generally moderate level with significant differences being observed by professional group and whether the respondent had any professional or personal experience caring for someone with dementia. Knowledge was lower for some of the specific content domains of the ADKS, especially those that were more medically-oriented, such as ‘risk factors’ and ‘course of the disease.’ Knowledge was higher for those who had experienced dementia-specific training, such as attendance at a series of relevant workshops.
Specific deficits in dementia knowledge were identified among Australian health care staff, and the results suggest dementia-specific training might improve knowledge. As one piece of an overall plan to improve health care delivery to people with dementia, this research supports the role of introducing systematic dementia-specific education or training.
Aged care; Alzheimer’s disease; Dementia; Knowledge; Health care staff
In Japan, there is a large increase in the number of elderly persons who potentially need home-visit nursing services (VNS). However, the number of persons using the VNS has increased only little in comparison to the number of individuals who use home social services, which are also covered by the Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) system. This cross-sectional study investigated the predictors of the VNS used under the LTCI system in Japan.
We used 1,580 claim data from all the users of community-based services and 1,574 interview survey data collected in 2001 from the six municipal bodies in Japan. After we merged the two datasets, 1,276 users of community-based services under the LTCI were analyzed. Multiple logistic regression models stratified by care needs levels were used for analysis.
Only 8.3% of the study subjects were VNS users. Even among study participants within the higher care-needs level, only 22.0% were VNS users. In the lower care level group, people with a higher care level (OR: 3.50, 95% CI: 1.50–8.93), those whose condition needed long term care due to respiratory or heart disease (OR: 4.31, 95% CI: 1.88–89.20), those whose period of needing care was two years or more (OR: 2.01, 95% CI: 1.14–3.48), those whose service plan was created by a medical care management agency (OR: 2.39, 95% CI: 1.31–4.33), those living with family (OR: 1.86, 95% CI: 1.00–3.42), and those who use home-help services (OR: 2.12, 95% CI: 1.17–3.83) were more likely to use the VNS. In the higher care level group, individuals with higher care level (OR: 3.63, 95% CI: 1.56–8.66), those with higher income (OR: 3.79, 95% CI: 1.01–14.25), and those who had regular hospital visits before entering the LTCI (OR: 2.36, 95% CI: 1.11–5.38) were more likely to use the VNS.
Our results suggested that VNS use is limited due to management by non-medical care management agencies, due to no caregivers being around or a low income household. The findings of this study provide valuable insight for LTCI policy makers: the present provision of VNS should be reconsidered.
Home-visit nursing service; Long-term care insurance; Care management; Community-based service; Care-needs level; Living alone; Income level; Home-help service
Over 50% of older adults experience chronic pain. Poorly managed pain threatens independent functioning, limits social activities and detrimentally affects emotional wellbeing. Yet, chronic pain is not fully understood from older adults’ perspectives; subsequently, pain management in later life is not necessarily based on their priorities or needs. This paper reports a qualitative exploration of older adults’ accounts of living with chronic pain, focusing on how they describe pain, with a view to informing approaches to its assessment.
Cognitively intact men and women aged over sixty-five who lived in the community opted into the study through responding to advertisements in the media and via contacts with groups and organisations in North-East Scotland. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed using a framework approach.
Qualitative individual interviews and one group interview were undertaken with 23 older adults. Following analysis, the following main themes emerged: diversity in conceptualising pain using a simple numerical score; personalising the meaning of pain by way of stories, similes and metaphors; and, contextualising pain in relation to its impact on activities.
The importance of attending to individuals’ stories as a meaningful way of describing pain for older adults is highlighted, suggesting that a narrative approach, as recommended and researched in other areas of medicine, may usefully be applied in pain assessment for older adults. Along with the judicious use of numerical tools, this requires innovative methods to elicit verbal accounts, such as using similes and metaphors to help older adults describe and discuss their experience, and contextualising the effects of pain on activities that are important to them.
Older adults; Ageing; Qualitative research; Stories; Metaphors; Chronic pain; Community
Dementia is a distressing and disabling illness with worldwide estimates of increased numbers of people with the condition. Two thirds of people with dementia live at home and policies in many countries seek to support more people for longer in this setting. Incontinence both contributes to carer burden and is also a significant factor in the decision to move into care homes. A review was conducted for evidence of effectiveness for conservative interventions, which are non-pharmacological and non-surgical interventions, for the prevention or management of incontinence in community dwelling people with dementia.
Fourteen electronic databases were searched, including MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL (from inception to 2012). Assessments of risk of bias were made. Meta-analysis was inappropriate due to the heterogeneity of the interventions and outcome measurements. A narrative analysis was undertaken.
From 427 identified abstracts, 56 studies were examined but only three met the inclusion criteria, all more than a decade old. All three focused on urinary incontinence. Two studies were exploratory or pilot studies. All had a control arm. The interventions were of advice for the carer to implement. Two included toileting education of prompted voiding or an individualised toileting schedule. There was insufficient evidence to support or rule out effectiveness of any of these interventions. Some interventions were unacceptable for some carers. None specifically reported the perspective of the person with dementia.
There was insufficient evidence from any studies to recommend any strategies. There remains an urgent need for both research and also clinical guidance for health professionals tailored to community settings where the majority of people with dementia live.
Dementia; Cognitive impairment; Incontinence; Community dwelling; Review; Carer/caregiver
The effects of a regular and graduated walking program as a stand-alone intervention for individuals in long-term care are unclear. Exercise and fall prevention programs typically studied in long-term care settings tend to involve more than one exercise mode, such as a combination of balance, aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises; and, measures do not always include mental health symptoms and behaviors, although these may be of even greater significance than physical outcomes.
We are randomly assigning residents of long-term care facilities into one of three intervention groups: (1) Usual Care Group - individuals receive care as usual within their long-term care unit; (2) Interpersonal Interaction Group - individuals receive a comparable amount of one-on-one stationary interpersonal interaction time with study personnel administering the walking program; and, (3) Walking Program Group – individuals participate in a supervised, progressive walking program five days per week, for up to half an hour per day. Assessments completed at baseline, 2 and 4 months during intervention, and 2 and 4 months post-intervention include: gait parameters using the GAITRite® computerized system, grip strength, the Berg Balance Scale, the Senior Fitness Test, the Older Adult Resource Services Physical Activities of Daily Living, the Geriatric Depression Scale Short Form, the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist, the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire, the Coloured Analogue Scale, pain assessment scales, and the number and nature of falls. Sophisticated data analytic procedures taking into account both the longitudinal nature of the data and the potential for missing data points due to attrition, will be employed.
Residents in long-term care have a very high number of comorbidities including physical, mental health, and cognitive. The presence of dementia in particular makes standardized research protocols difficult to follow, and staff shortages, along with inconsistencies related to shift changes may impact on the accuracy of caregiver-rated assessment scales. Practical challenges to data collection validity and maintenance of inter-rater reliability due to the large number of research staff required to implement the interventions at multiple sites are also posed.
Walking; Long-term care; Longitudinal studies
Computer-based interventions have demonstrated consistent positive effects on various physical abilities in older adults. This study aims to compare two training groups that achieve similar amounts of strength and balance exercise where one group receives an intervention that includes additional dance video gaming. The aim is to investigate the different effects of the training programs on physical and psychological parameters in older adults.
Thirty-one participants (mean age ± SD: 86.2 ± 4.6 years), residents of two Swiss hostels for the aged, were randomly assigned to either the dance group (n = 15) or the control group (n = 16). The dance group absolved a twelve-week cognitive-motor exercise program twice weekly that comprised progressive strength and balance training supplemented with additional dance video gaming. The control group performed only the strength and balance exercises during this period. Outcome measures were foot placement accuracy, gait performance under single and dual task conditions, and falls efficacy.
After the intervention between-group comparison revealed significant differences for gait velocity (U = 26, P = .041, r = .45) and for single support time (U = 24, P = .029, r = .48) during the fast walking dual task condition in favor of the dance group. No significant between-group differences were observed either in the foot placement accuracy test or in falls efficacy.
There was a significant interaction in favor of the dance video game group for improvements in step time. Significant improved fast walking performance under dual task conditions (velocity, double support time, step length) was observed for the dance video game group only. These findings suggest that in older adults a cognitive-motor intervention may result in more improved gait under dual task conditions in comparison to a traditional strength and balance exercise program.
This trial has been registered under ISRCTN05350123 (
Dual task; Dance video game; Gait; Older adults; Cognitive-motor intervention